I'm not claiming to have put forth a whole lot of originality with any of my previous blog entries--in fact, largely it's the lack of original-yet-not-too-self-absorbed-sounding topics that keep me from writing more frequently--and admittedly, writing about resolutions on December 29 lacks much panache. Yet it feels kind of unavoidable, so hopefully you'll bear with me.
According to the Source of All Things, the internet, the "popular tradition of making new years resolutions also has origins in Ancient Babylon and Rome." And according to the REAL Source of All Things--Wikipedia--only about 12 percent of participants in a "resolutions study" achieved their goals. So while I'm not really sure of the exact point at which we start dating Ancient Babylon and Rome,all in all, that's a lot of failed attempts by generations upon generations of folks. Why is that? If another tradition had such an astounding fail rate, wouldn't it have died long ago?
I don't have the answer but, as one of the consistently failing 88 percent, I can give it a stab. I guess it's the same concept as why we put ourselves through other frustrating and elaborate rituals--to follow and create traditions (see previous blog entry) and to mark time in a meaningful way. Plus resolutions also have the added bonus of creating a feeling of hope and renewal--who knows, sometime, with one of those little promises, you might be among the 12 percent who is actually able to stick with it. And won't that feel just amazing!
So for the heck of it, I'll let you know what I'm overwhelmingly most likely to fail at in the coming year, in no particular order. (Feel free to do the same in the comments. I love comments!)
1. Motherly patience. You can look at this in one of two ways. My failure rate is a solid 100 percent, as I am generally screaming at the kids by January 2, having spent 10 or so cold days cooped up with them over the Christmas break. However, most people who know my kids seem to like them and tell me I've done an OK job. So I guess the resolution itself is a consistent failure, but I like to look at the bigger picture on this one. (Right?)
2. Train for a triathlon. It seems like doing something physically extreme would be a nice way to say "bring it on" to the big 4-0. Then again, see 2007. Did a marathon. Did not catch "the bug." Oh, and I HATE swimming in the winter. And I don't own a bike.
3. Work on work. I did make some substantial achievements in this realm this year but I know it's not enough. As I revealed just now in point #2, I am not getting any younger and it is entirely debatable as to whether writing a very sporadic blog and reporting on Sudbury town government counts as "resuming my career." This one, I might actually have to force myself to be among the 12 percent if I want to be making a living from writing, which I do.
4. Cut myself a break! On any given day, in any given situation, I can tell you truthfully that I almost always try the best I can in that moment. Is that "try" often a failure? Yes. But I'm also a big believer and practicer of the do-over. I am not afraid to look at and confront my "stuff" and to own it, and learn from it. But ultimately, I've learned nothing during my (see #2) years on earth, it's that you can't please everyone, right? So stop trying so hard.